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Pennsylvania Cannabis Security & Compliance

Pennsylvania Cannabis Security, Surveillance, & IT Compliance

Cannabis is still illegal for recreational purposes in Pennsylvania… but do not panic! Pennsylvania decriminalized small quantities of cannabis and medical cannabis was fully legalized in 2016.

Patients can qualify for a medical cannabis prescription for a number of diseases and disorders. While the original law only allowed for gels, creams, ointments, pills, oils, tinctures, liquid, and basically all non-whole plant forms of cannabis, Pennsylvania updated these regulations in 2018 to allow for the sale of cannabis flower.

After the medical legalization of cannabis in Pennsylvania, the state saw a deluge of dispensaries open. To apply for a medical marijuana dispensary permit in Pennsylvania, business owners have to submit a detailed rundown of the business.

Pennsylvania also demands some high costs for the permit application, including a non-refundable fee of $5,000. Having your entire operation up to the strict rules and regulations of this medical-only state is imperative before submitting your application to open a medical dispensary.

Things only get more expensive for cannabis cultivators in Pennsylvania. The initial non-refundable fee is $10,000. A large part of both the Pennsylvania cannabis dispensary and grower application process is the ability to maintain effective security to prevent diversion and other illegal actions taking place in your business.

When it comes to cannabis security and compliance, we at Woodrow Technology Solutions can ensure you’re on exactly the right path. Let’s start by giving you some background on the official rules for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana landscape.

Pennsylvania Marijuana Legalization

Breaking Down the Legalese

Pennsylvania’s cannabis dispensary security and surveillance code 1161.31 is exhaustive, so let’s break it down into layman’s terms and with the solutions you need.

  •  (a)  A dispensary shall have security and surveillance systems, utilizing commercial-grade equipment, to prevent unauthorized entry and to prevent and detect an adverse loss. The security and surveillance systems must include all of the following:

    • (1)  A professionally-monitored security alarm system that includes the following:
      • (i)   Coverage of all facility entrances and exits; rooms with exterior windows, exterior walls, roof hatches or skylights; storage rooms, including those that contain medical marijuana and safes; and the perimeter of the facility

Pennsylvania Cannabis Surveillance Requirements

Ensuring your Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensary is completely covered by a comprehensive surveillance system isn’t just a legal requirement, it’s one of the best things you can do to protect your business, your employees, your product, and yourself.

Dispensaries regularly fall victim to theft, so having your entire premises covered can help to mitigate loss. Thieves are less likely to break into your dispensary if they know they’ll be on camera the entire time.

Sometimes employees are the source of loss. If you’ve noticed that items are going missing or the cash registers aren’t adding up, you can go back through your surveillance footage and figure out who is doing what. This is just the tip of the iceburg and speaks to the importance of a comprehensive cannabis security system in Pennsylvania.

     (ii)   A silent security alarm system signal, known as a duress alarm, generated by the entry of a designated code into an arming station in order to signal that the alarm user is being forced to turn off the system

Silent alarms are great, but what are they worth if no one is aware they’re going off?

Our alarm systems are designed in such a way that all administrators will receive consistent emails and updates directly to their cell phones as soon as the silent alarms are triggered. That way, you don’t even have to be on the premises to keep an eye on how things are going.

     (iii)   An audible security alarm system signal, known as a panic alarm, generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life-threatening or emergency situation requiring law enforcement response

Is there anything more aggravating than an alarm? Probably not. That’s why we’ve ensured our alarm systems emit the most annoying sound possible, both to alert you to any concerns, and to dissuade bad actors from theft or other types of crime.

     (iv)   A silent alarm signal, known as a holdup alarm, generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery in progress

(v)   An electrical, electronic, mechanical or other device capable of being programmed to send a prerecorded voice message requesting dispatch, when activated, over a telephone line, radio or other communication system to a law enforcement, public safety or emergency services agency

(vi)   A failure notification system that provides an audible, text or visual notification of any failure in the systems. The failure notification system must provide by telephone, e-mail or text message an alert to a designated security person within the facility within 5 minutes after the failure

Pennsylvania Remote Access Cannabis Security Systems

As an administrator, our systems allow you to put any in-person security officers on the system so they also receive an alert when something goes wrong. You can choose precisely who has access, ensuring you meet with Pennsylvania’s strict cannabis code.

     (vii)   Smoke and fire alarms

(viii)   Auxiliary power sufficient to maintain security and surveillance systems for at least 48 hours following a power outage

(ix)   The ability to ensure all access doors are not solely controlled by an electronic access panel to prevent locks from becoming released during a power outage

Remote access to cannabis dispensaries should be normalized throughout the United States. Not all legal and medical cannabis jurisdictions require remote access to facilities, but we think they should.

Not only does our system allow you to meet Pennsylvania’s state cannabis code, but you can keep track of all those entering the premises and when.

     (x)   Motion detectors

(2)  A professionally-monitored security and surveillance system that is operational 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and records all activity in images capable of clearly revealing facial detail

Pennsylvania Cannabis Video Quality & Resolution

We highly recommend using a minimum of 1080p for your video surveillance resolution. However, 4K and 5K are significantly better! The only downside to 1080p, 4K, and 5K is the storage required for your digital archives.

When you’re recording 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, a lot of space is required to keep this kind of video quality and quantity. While your cannabis security cameras will be permanently mounted to specific areas in your operation, those with higher foot traffic will need a bigger backup.

However, so long as your recording quality is high enough, you will be able to pass an assessment and inspection in Pennsylvania for the following:

  • (i)   Fixed camera placement that allows for a clear image of all individuals and activities in and around the following:
    • (A)   Any area of a facility where medical marijuana products are loaded or unloaded into or from transport vehicles
    • (B)   Entrances to and exits from a facility. Entrances and exits must be recorded from both indoor and outdoor vantage points
    • (C)   Rooms with exterior windows, exterior walls, roof hatches or skylights and storage rooms, including those that may contain medical marijuana products and safes
    • (D)   Five feet from the exterior of the perimeter of a facility
    • (E)   All limited access areas
  • (ii)   Auxiliary power sufficient to maintain security and surveillance systems for at least 48 hours following a power outage
  • (iii)   The ability to operate under the normal lighting conditions of each area under surveillance
  • (iv)   The ability to immediately produce a clear, color, still photograph in a digital format that meets the requirements of this subsection
    • (3)  The ability to clearly and accurately display the date and time. The date and time must be synchronized and set correctly and may not significantly obscure the picture
    • (4)  The ability to record and store all images captured by each surveillance camera for a minimum of 2 years in a format that may be easily accessed for investigative purposes. The recordings must be kept:
      • (i)   At the facility:
        • (A)   In a locked cabinet, closet or other secure place to protect it from tampering or theft
        • (B)   In a limited access area or other room to which access is limited to authorized individuals
      • (ii)   At a secure location other than the location of the facility if approved by the Department
    • (5)  A security alarm system separate from the facility’s primary security system covering the limited access area or other room where the recordings under paragraph (4) are stored. The separate security alarm system must meet the same requirements as the facility’s primary security alarm system

(b)  The following apply regarding the inspection, servicing or alteration of, and the upgrade to, the dispensary facility’s security and surveillance systems:

    • (1)  The systems shall be inspected and all devices tested once every year by a qualified alarm system vendor and a qualified surveillance system vendor, as approved by the Department

Comprehensive Cannabis Security in Pennsylvania

Oh hey, that’s us!

We will ensure that your entire system is in a constant state of compliance and readiness. We can even access the system remotely, so you don’t have to wait for someone to come out and manually check or update your installation.

Remote access to cannabis dispensaries should be normalized throughout the United States. Not all legal and medical cannabis jurisdictions require remote access to facilities, but we think they should.

Not only does our system allow you to meet Pennsylvania’s state code, but you can keep track of all those entering the premises and when.

Our remote maintenance system ensures you’re more than covered for these items too:

  • (2)  The dispensary shall conduct maintenance inspections once every month to ensure that any repairs, alterations or upgrades to the security and surveillance systems are made for the proper operation of the systems
  • (3)  The dispensary shall retain at the facility, for at least 4 years, records of all inspections, servicing, alterations and upgrades performed on the systems and shall make the records available to the Department and its authorized agents within 2 business days following a request
  • (4)  In the event of a mechanical malfunction of the security or surveillance system that the dispensary anticipates will exceed a 4-hour period, the dispensary shall notify the Department immediately and, with Department approval, provide alternative security measures that may include closure of the facility
  • (5)  The dispensary shall designate an employee to continuously monitor the security and surveillance systems at the facility.
  • (6)  The following requirements apply regarding records retention:
    •      (i)   Within 2 business days following a request, a dispensary shall provide up to four screen captures of an unaltered copy of a video surveillance recording to the Department or its authorized agents, law enforcement, or other Federal, State or local government officials if necessary to perform the government officials’ functions and duties
    •      (ii)   If a dispensary has been notified in writing by the Department or its authorized agents, law enforcement, or other Federal, State or local government officials of a pending criminal or administrative investigation for which a recording may contain relevant information, the dispensary shall retain an unaltered copy of the recording for 4 years or until the investigation or proceeding is closed or the entity conducting the investigation or proceeding notifies the dispensary that it is not necessary to retain the recording, whichever is longer
  •  (c)  A dispensary shall install commercial-grade, nonresidential steel doors and door locks on each room where medical marijuana products are stored and on each external door of the facility. Keys or key codes for all doors shall remain in the possession of designated authorized individuals
  •  (d)  During all nonworking hours, all entrances to and exits from the facility must be securely locked

While you’ll be able to remotely secure the Pennsylvania cannabis facility too, we’re just a quick call or email away to keep things up and running for you. Here at Woodrow Technology, we’re not just your surveillance and security experts, we’re on your team. Whatever you need, we’ll ensure you’re covered 24/7.

Backing Up Your Security Systems Limiting Access

  •  (e)  A dispensary shall have an electronic back-up system for all electronic records
  •  (f)  A dispensary shall install lighting to ensure proper surveillance inside and outside of the facility
  •  (g)  A dispensary shall limit access to a room in a facility containing security and surveillance monitoring equipment to persons who are essential to maintaining security and surveillance operations; Federal, State and local law enforcement; security and surveillance system service employees; the Department or its authorized agents; and other persons with the prior written approval of the Department. The following requirements apply:
    •    (1)  A dispensary shall make available to the Department or the Department’s authorized agents, upon request, a current list of authorized employees and service employees or contractors who have access to any security and surveillance areas
    •    (2)  A dispensary facility shall keep security and surveillance rooms locked at all times and may not use these rooms for any other purpose or function

Do you have questions on anything related to Pennsylvania cannabis security and compliance? Good. That’s what we’re here to answer…

Why Use Woodrow Technologies For Cannabis Security in Pennsylvania?

We hope that this blog post has provided you with insightful knowledge, tips, and tricks on how to best prepare your Pennsylvania cannabis operation’s security & compliance solution.

Woodrow Technology Solution’s Phoenix-based team has been in operation since 2014, winning consecutive Best of IT Services in Chandler for 5 years and counting.

Our guiding principle is “Do The Right Thing!” We treat every customer, client, and task as if it were for ourselves.

Creating Best Practices in Pennsylvania

When it comes down to it, you need a security & compliance system no matter what type of cannabis operation you’re running in Michigan.

Regardless of what government and law enforcement in Michigan think and need, a comprehensive security and surveillance system is the best practice for any cannabis business owner.

Are you based in Pennsylvania and considering opening your own cannabis company? Get in touch with us today to see how we can guarantee a streamlined and successful path to compliance.